Rory Gallagher frustrated as Cork fight back to draw with Derry

Rory Gallagher gave his side the week off ahead of Sunday's draw with Cork
Rory Gallagher gave his side the week off ahead of Sunday's draw with Cork

Allianz Football League Division Two round seven

Cork 1-14 Derry 1-14

DERRY hadn’t their usual preparation for this League game and it ended with an appropriately abnormal finish.

Rory Gallagher gave his troops the week off as reward for promotion as he, like many of his players, jetted out of the country, only returning on Saturday.

They still led by eight points before a remarkable Cork comeback was completed with Ian Maguire’s 78th-minute goal snatching a draw to end Derry’s perfect winning record.

Gallagher criticised his side for their indiscipline in going for goal moments before Maguire’s equaliser.

Cork had just been reduced to 14 men, with Luke Fahy black-carded. Paul Cassidy slipped Shane McGuigan in but Mícheál Aodh Martin charged off his line to deny the Slaughtneil sharp-shooter and set up the counter-attack.

“It could’ve been a goal at one end but that’s the indiscipline,” said Gallagher. “They didn’t need a goal; they needed a point. You go four up.

“Then you concede a bad sloppy goal. That’s the indiscipline that was there but look, that happens when you emotionally switch off after the last six games and the break.

“It’s not the normal preparation for a League game but we just felt it was the right thing to do in the long term for us to take the week off.”

The seven added minutes were just up when Cian Kiely lofted in a high ball and midfielder Maguire was in position to get the final touch.

Cork outscored the table-toppers by 1-6 to 0-1 in the final 24 minutes and their place in the Sam Maguire top-16 looks secure as they clinched fourth place in Division Two.

“Our attitude wasn’t right,” said Gallagher of those final minutes. “We were taking shots we shouldn’t have taken. We weren’t competing hard enough. We made wrong decisions at several times.

“But there’s huge learning in the way we were casual and slack and let Cork back into it.”

Derry were already booked in for the final at Croke Park, with Dublin providing the opposition, although Chrissy McKaigue limping off with an ankle injury provides Gallagher with some concern.

It’ll be a different atmosphere than that experienced at a cavernous Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“I always find it’s very surreal playing here,” said Gallagher. “It’s an unbelievable stadium but it’s not natural to be playing with such a small crowd.

“It’s really different. The scoring ratios go up and the chances go up and it’s not a normal game.”

Derry started the brighter. McGuigan fluffed an early goal opportunity but they eased into a 0-9 to 0-4 lead, with three points each from McGuigan and Niall Toner.

Gareth McKinless was black-carded in the 32nd minute and Cork closed with a pair of Steven Sherlock frees.

After the break, Cork didn’t score for 15 minutes, with a Sherlock shot on goal saved by Ryan Scullion as Gallagher’s men landed four on the trot.

When the ball fell fortuitously to Shea Downey on 53 minutes, he finished to the net for a 1-13 to 0-8 lead.

The game appeared over. It was anything but. Derry relaxed and Cork finally showed some pace, urgency, and directness.

Scullion saved superbly from Conor Corbett but the substitute helped to turn the game with three of Cork’s six points in a row.

McGuigan extended the gap to three but there were seven minutes added on. Cork needed every last one of them and a few extra seconds too.

Cork MA Martin; K O’Donovan (0-2), S Meehan, T Walsh; L Fahy, R Maguire, M Taylor; C O’Callaghan (0-2), I Maguire (1-0); B O’Driscoll, K O’Hanlon (0-2), R Deane; C Óg Jones (0-1), S Powter, S Sherlock (0-4 frees)

Subs C Corbett (0-3, 0-1 free) for Sherlock (54), J O’Rourke for Jones (55), M Cronin for O’Driscoll (58), C Kiely for Taylor (58), P Walsh for O’Hanlon (70+6) Black card Fahy (70+6)

Derry R Scullion; P McNeill, P McGrogan (0-1), C McCluskey; S Downey (1-1), G McKinless, Pádraig Cassidy; Paul Cassidy (0-1), B Rogers (0-1); B McCarron, N Toner (0-3), E Doherty (0-2); M Downey, S McGuigan (0-4, 0-1 free), L Murray (0-1)

Subs C Glass for McCarron (40), C McKaigue for McNeill (54), C McGuckian for M Downey (55), C Doherty for McKaigue (60), D Cassidy for Murray (64) 

Black card McKinless (32-42)

Referee A Nolan (Wicklow)